First stage of British horseracing’s whip consultation closes

07 Sep 2021 BHA Features Welfare
  • Initial phase of consultation – an online questionnaire – closed at midnight on Monday 6 September after running for 10 weeks
  • Focus groups with volunteers remain ongoing, with detailed discussion sessions with relevant industry individuals and groups to follow
  • All elements of the consultation to then be considered by the Whip Consultation Steering Group, which contains representation and expertise from across the racing industry and wider sectors

An online questionnaire, which forms the first stage of the open, public consultation around the use of the whip in British horseracing, concluded at midnight last night after running for 10 weeks.

Over 2,000 responses have been received from industry participants, stakeholders, followers and members of the general public. These submissions will now be assessed, with the aid of an expert independent data analyst.

As part of the consultation process, respondents were offered the opportunity to volunteer to take part in focus groups. Several such sessions have already been held, with more planned through September. Moreover, detailed discussions are also being organised with relevant industry individuals and organisations to take place in the coming weeks.

Following the conclusion of the full consultation process, the data, views and suggestions from all parts of the consultation will be considered by the Whip Consultation Steering Group, which contains representation and expertise from across the racing industry and wider sectors including politics, horse welfare and the media. Recommendations will then proposed by the Steering Group in conjunction with the BHA Project group.

Any resulting recommendations will then be taken out to the racing industry once again for further discussion, prior to undergoing formal consideration by the BHA Board, which is currently planned to take place in early 2022. Once the BHA Board has made final approvals of any recommendations, a report will be published alongside summaries of the consultation data and responses. There would then follow an extensive bedding in and training period for any changes ahead of their implementation.

Brant Dunshea, Chief Regulatory Officer for the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), said:

“We’re extremely grateful to everyone who has taken the time to submit their views as part of this open consultation. The views submitted through this process will now be assessed, and will play their part in shaping any proposals which are made by the Whip Consultation Steering Group as part of an open and transparent process.”

Notes to editors:

1. Indicative timeline:

2. An FAQs document which was published alongside the launch of the consultation can be found here: Whip Consultation Launch Q&A.pdf

3. As part of the consultation launch three explanatory videos were published:

4. For more information about the whip used in British racing visit this page: British Horseracing Authority | The whip in British horseracing

5. About the Whip Consultation Steering Group:

The Whip Consultation Steering Group has responsibility for oversight of the process and decision-making in relation to the consultation. It will ensure that the consultation – which is being run by a BHA project team – is managed in line with objectives and expectations, as well as providing practical experience, expertise and insight.

Once it has reviewed and assessed the consultation feedback, the Steering Group will aim to reach a consensus and make recommendations that help to determine the outcome of the process.

The group draws on individuals from a wide range of backgrounds across the racing industry including trainers, jockeys, owners, breeders, racecourses and stable staff. It also includes representation from wider sectors including politics, horse welfare and the media.

The group is chaired by former racecourse Stewards’ Panel Chair, racecourse committee member and racehorse owner David Jones, who is also an Independent Regulatory Director on the Board of the BHA.

Full membership of the Whip Consultation Steering Group is as follows:

  • David Jones (Chair), BHA Independent Regulatory Non-Executive Director
  • Tom Blain, Managing Director, Barton Stud
  • Henry Daly, Racehorse trainer
  • Celia Djivanovic, Racehorse owner
  • Tom Goff, founding partner, Blandford Bloodstock
  • John Gosden OBE, Racehorse trainer
  • Baroness Hayman of Ullock, Member of the House of Lords
  • Dr Neil Hudson MP FRCVS, Member of Parliament, academic & veterinary surgeon
  • Nick Luck, Broadcaster and journalist
  • P.J. McDonald, Professional jockey
  • Roly Owers MRCVS, Chief Executive Officer, World Horse Welfare, & veterinary surgeon
  • James Savage, Head Lad/Assistant to Sir Michael Stoute
  • Tom Scudamore, Professional jockey
  • Nick Smith, Director of Racing and Public Affairs, Ascot Racecourse
  • Sulekha Varma, North West Head of Racing, Jockey Club Racecourses, Clerk of the Course (Aintree Racecourse)

6. The BHA Project team responsible for running the consultation process is:

Brant Dunshea (Executive Lead): Chief Regulatory Officer
Alison Enticknap (Project Lead): Head of Stakeholder and Internal Engagement
Sam Angell: Steward Team Leader
Gemma Grant: Regulatory Operations Project Officer
Sean Maxwell: Regulatory Operations Project Officer
Amanda McNamara: Personal Assistant
Robin Mounsey: Head of Media
Cathy O’Meara: Head of Raceday Officials

7. The Horse Welfare Board’s strategic plan A life well lived – a new strategic plan for the welfare of horses bred for racing 2020-2024 can be found here.